Push for sales tax increase dropped

Group decided ‘this isn’t the time’ to aid transportation

DENVER – Voters will not see a sales tax increase for transportation on their ballots this November.

MPACT 64, a group of civic leaders from each of the state’s 64 counties, decided this week that poll results have been too pessimistic to continue with their effort this year.

The group had conducted polls about the popularity of a statewide sales-tax rate increase to 3.6 percent, up from a current 2.9 percent.

People who answered the poll didn’t think the increase was too steep, said Jim Gunning, mayor of the Denver suburb of Lone Tree and chairman of MPACT 64.

“They really didn’t see seven-tenths of a cent as onerous to them. What did come from the poll is this isn’t the time to raise taxes,” he said.

The group will meet in March to analyze the poll in detail and consider its next steps. Gunning said polls have many encouraging signs for transportation advocates.

Voters across the state value both quality roads and mass transportation, he said. In rural areas, safety upgrades and safe routes to school are especially popular.

Voters’ sound rejection of Amendment 66, an income tax increase for schools, did not factor into MPACT 64’s decision, he said.

“This is completely different than education. I really don’t think the voter draws a line from education to transportation,” he said.

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